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Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Professor standing in front of class.

Teaching Assistantships

Prepare for your career while financing your graduate degree. 

In order to both financially support your graduate degree and to provide real-world training for an academic career, we offer a number of assistantships each year. 

How to Apply 

  • Students seeking admission to the Graduate Programs in the Department of Languages Literatures and Cultures should have completed, or should be close to completing, an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, with a major or equivalent in the pertinent language.
  • Have completed or be close to completed an undergraduate degree in the language you wish to study 
  • Have minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale 
  • 3 letters of recommendation from professors familiar with your academic work and preparation for graduate work.
  • a statement of purpose written in English: explain the connection between USC’s programs and your personal goals
  • A scholarly paper (between 2500-5000 words). The paper should be on a literary/cultural studies or language acquisition topic related to the program you are applying to. It must demonstrate knowledge of the topic, with a well thought out argumentation, and with clarity of expression.
  • For those applying for a teaching assistantship in Comparative Literature, French, German, Spanish, an audio (MP3) recording of language speech sample from non-native speakers, limited to 5-15 minutes is required.  Communication in the target language should be fluid and clear, containing a brief summary of college career, academic interests, and plans for the future.  Depending on background and previous degree, some students may be contacted for a phone interview.
  • Complete your application for admission to the university by January 1

 

Stipend

Our assistantships come with a stipend between $11,000 and $15,000 depending on program (MA or Ph.D.), rank and workload. The stipend is paid semi-monthly from August 16 until May 15.

  • In-state tuition rates
  • If you're enrolled in at least 9 hours per semester. These are prorated if you're enrolled in fewer hours. for students
  • Enrolled in less than 9 hours per semester.
  • $275.00 health care subsidy 

 

Rank and workload

There are three levels of graduate assistantships: Graduate Instructional Assistant (GIA), Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and Senior Teaching Associate (STA). These positions require a large amount of work in addition to your course load, so we don't allow assistants to take on an outside job without express written consent from the department. 

 

Graduate Instructional Assistant (GIA)

If you're accepted for an assistantship position, you'll likely enter with the rank of GIA and be expected to work 15 hours per week. As a GIA, you're allowed to teach, but you may not be “instructor of record,” meaning that final grades can only be officially assigned by a regular staff member.

In order to be promoted to the next level, you'll need to:

  1. Successfully pass the pedagogical training course, FOLR776.
  2. Maintain all academic standards
  3. Demonstrate dedication and participation in all aspects of your assigned assistantship.
  4. Completed all assignments your supervisors and coordinators assigned to you
  5. Be an efficient teacher as you continue your pedagogical development.
  6. Earn 18 graduate credit hours

If you meet these requirements, you'll be eligible to be promoted in your second year of study and receive a salary increase and full-tuition abatement.

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)

As a GTAs, you'll continue to work a 15-hour week, but you can be instructor of record. 

During years when our program has a need for both GTAs and Senior Teaching Associates, we'll consider promoting qualified GTAs who have demonstrated class management by teaching, under supervision, his/her own class.

 

Senior Teaching Associate

As an STA, you'll work a 20-hour week and teach two courses with a commensurate increase in stipend. This position is normally reserved for Ph.D. candidates, but is occasionally offered to MA students. 

 

Performance Evaluation

Each semester, you should enroll in the 777 course of the language you teach. This will provide the framework for faculty observation, supervision and practical training. You'll be observed twice a semester and you'll be evaluated by basic course directors and academic advisors during finals week. 

In addition to your evaluations, you need to: 

  • Enroll in a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 12 credit-hours per semester. Five courses per year must count toward your degree. 
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA 
  • Receive a “satisfactory” rating for performance of assigned duties.

If your GPA drops below 3.0, the Graduate School will place you on academic probation and you'll have one year to improve your grades. In that case, you're subject to immediate suspension of your GA contract to allow you to focus on your coursework.

If you receive an unsatisfactory rating for the performance of their assigned duties will be placed on teaching probation. Depending on the severity of the problems, the we might offer you a one-semester remediation plan without suspending your contract. Your contract renewal would be subject to documented improvement. If the problem is severe, your contract will be suspended immediately.